tv Jeh Johnson James Comey and Nicholas Rasmussen Testimony on National... CSPAN October 21, 2015 11:41pm-2:05am EDT
nearly, i repeat, $5 million taxpayer dollars were spent on this political hit job. senate democrats will continue o fight to get this sham committee disbanned. weeks ago we spoke to speaker boehner urging him to bring this disgraceful committee to an end. no. they're plodding forward. today senate democrats have sent a letter to the republican national convention requesting they reimburse the american people for the benghazi committee expenses. why did we do that? it's only fair since the so-called committee is a republican political organization. i would ask, mr. president, that my remarks i make now appear in a separate place in the record. >> without objection. >> we have live coverage of hillary clinton's testimony at the house benghazi committee tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, c-span radio, and -span.org.
obama administration officials said that terrorist organizations are increasingly using the internet to recruit individuals to conduct attacks. f.b.i. director james comey and homeland security security jey johnson testified that isis and other terrorist groups are using social media to try and influence younger people. they took questions from members of the house homeland security committee, which is chaired by congressman michael ccall. >> the committee on homeland security will come to order. the committee is meeting to examine current and evolving threats to the homeland. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. first i'd like to thank our
witnesses for joining us here today. and for offering their insights on the security challenges that we face at home and abroad. we'll cover a lot of ground today from america's border security, to our cyber defenses. but i want to focus in particular on the rising terror threats of the homeland. last month this committee held the first ever congressional hearing at the 9/11 memorial museum in new york. and on hallowed ground we were reminded of the solemn pledge our country made in the aftermath. to never let such a day happen again. that resolve became the rallying cry of this nation as we embarked on a generational war against islamist terror. 14 years later we were still engaged in that struggle. today i expect ape unvarnished assessment from our witnesses about where we stand in the fight. we are at a turning point in a new age of terror.
i predict this year could exceed the last to become the most violent year on record for global terrorism. radical islamists are recruiting online across borders and at broadway -- broadband speed, and the impact is felt worldwide. here in the united states there have been more terrorist cases this year involving home grown jihaddists than any full year since 9/11. isis alone has inspired or directed 17 terror plots in america since early 2014 and overall the group has been linked to more than 60 plots against western targets from canada to australia. the pace of terror plotting is unprecedented. unrivaled even by al qaeda at its peak. yet we are no closer to dismantling isis than we were a year ago. despite 14 months of air strikes, the group has largely
maintained its core safe haven while expanding its global footprint. the isis rein of terror is fueled by its recruitment of foreign fighters who hail from more than a hundred countries, including our own. this committee launched a bipartisan task force to examine the foreign fighter threat and last month the group released its final report with very disturbing finding. over all they found that we are losing the struggle to stop americans from traveling overseas to join jihaddists. and we have managed, only managed to stop a small fraction of the hundreds of americans who have attempted to fight in syria and iraq. and some have even managed to make it back into the united states after listening -- enlisting with terrorist groups. we are falling behind the threat for many reasons. vulnerable, young people are being recruited at record speeds. and terrorists are shifting their communications to dark space, which has made it far
more difficult to monitor and intercept suspects. these secure communication tools are also being used to plot attacks in our own country. more over, gaping security weaknesses overseas especially in europe are making it easier for extremists to travel to and from the conflict zone. but at the end of the day we cannot keep individuals from being lured to terrorist hot spots unless we eliminate the problem at its source. sadly, those prospects have grown darker. the president's failure to develop a coherent strategy in syria and iraq has emboldened our adversaries to fill the vacuum with disastrous consequences. russia and iran are now propping up assad and there are reports that even cuban special forces have joined the fight. those rogue regimes will fan the flames of sectarianism and make it harder for us to eliminate the terrorist sanctuary in the region.
their actions will also intensify refugee flows which have become a serious security challenge in light of reports that terrorists are exploiting the crisis to sneak operatives into the west. violent extremists are also expanding their foothold yet i am alarmed we lack a clear vision for reversing their gains and winning the wider war against islamist terror. if we fail to defeat our enemies overseas and combat them and their hateful ideology, we will be forced to fight more of them here at home. we've learned this the hard way. today i hope to hear from our witnesses about these challenges and how their agencies are working to strengthen our defenses on the home front. again, i want to express my gratitude to each of you for your close and continual cooperation with this committee, your dedication to our country, and your success this year in disrupting so many
terrorist plots. let me just close by saying at the f.b.i. and homeland working together have arrested most 70 isis related individuals in this country. i'm amazed at what we've been able to stop. and i just want to commend you for that. with that, the chair recognizes the ranking member. >> i thank the chairman for holding today's hearing. mr. secretary, welcome to what is your first appearance before this committee, this congress. i look forward to hearing your informed perspective on today's topic. i'd also like to thank the director rasmussen and director comey for their testimonies. mr. chairman, while i agree that the threat to this nation
are concerning and worthy of examination, i also believe that as an authorizing committee of the department of homeland security it is our responsibility to hear from the secretary about the overall man jment of dhs. this bipartisan committee, the government accountability office, and the inspector general, have ally dent fide challenges within the department. additionally, there are components within the department that have proposed restructuring. while the secretary's effort and initiative has made strides since the beginning of the congress but the federal employee viewpoint survey still indicates that d.h.s. has a long way to go in improving work force morell. also two d.h.s. components with a zero fail mission, the transportation security administration, and the secret service, are ongoing, much needed reform.
further more, the department of cyber mission is critical as we look to prevent encrypted attacks from cyber terrorists. while we've heard from several dhs officials this congress we have yet to hear from the head of the agency on the record about how he is feeling his vision for the department and what he needs from congress. today's hearing and the topic and testimony does not provide for a hearing from the secretary on the topics i have mentioned. therefore i'm asking you, mr. chairman, for a commitment at some point to hold a hearing on the oversight of the department of homeland security and invite secretary johnson to testify before the end of the first session of congress. i know it's shared concern. each member of this committee should have the opportunity to question the secretary in an open setting and to continue to hold him accountable. today's hearing on the
worldwide press gives the committee the opportunity to hear the perspective of top government officials on the wide ranging threats of terrorism from both international groups and domestic terrorists. through its oversight this committee has given attention to the threat from the international terror organization including al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, and the threat from islamic state of iraq and lebanon. the committee's bipartisan task force looked at the threat from foreign fighters and one of their glaring yet unsurprising findings is that they are still -- there are still intelligence and information sharing gaps that need to be addressed. these gaps also enter the conversation as we continue our efforts to address our humanitarian response to the refugee crisis in syria. i want to hear from each witness about their agency's
intelligence capabilities and how they are working together as we prepare to assist in this humanitarian crisis. as members of congress, we have the responsibility to convey accurate information to our constituents and to the media. as we rightfully continue to address the threats from international terrorist organizes, i want to reemphasize that we should not lose sight of the threats posed by terrorists that are right here in america. as they are those that have no plans on traveling overseas to receive training from any international group. rough social media networks, isil has encouraged lone offenders to perpetrate violence right here on our soil. this approach is not novel. right wing domestic terrorist groups also use social media to recruit and communicate. again, mr. chairman, violent
extremists views no single ideology or recruitment tactic even though some federal officials have been dismissive of domestic terrorism and other generates false intelligence. to the contrary the facts are clear. since september 11 more people in the united states have died in attacks by domestic extremists than attacks by international terrorist groups. mr. chairman, we often discuss what the 9/11 commissioners called a failure of imagination. as we used to date to discuss the threats to our country let us not fail to imagine the devastation that can be caused by the extremists both abroad and in our back yard. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back my time. >> i thank the ranking member and appreciate your bipartisan cooperation on the task force report which i think was valuable and hopefully to
federal law enforcement and the intelligence committee and -- community and i honor your request to have another hearing on the oversight issue as well. we have a distinguished panel before us. first the honorable jey johnson who serves as the fourth secretary of homeland security since his swearing in on december 23, 2013. previously he served as general counsel for the department of defense where he led over 10,000 civilian and military lawyers across the department and worked on the raid operation on the compound to take down osama bin laden. next the honorable nicholas rasmussen has served as director of the national counterterrorism center since december, 2014. served as the deputy director and is a member of the national security council staff where he was special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism.
finally we have the honorable james comey who served as the federal bureau of investigation's director since september of 2013, previously he was general counsel for bridge water associates and deputy attorney general at the department of justice. he also worked on the exile program, which i remember meeting with you, sir, a long time ago when i was deputy attorney general for the state of text -- texas trying to implement the same program in the state of texas. we thank you for being here as well. witnesses' full written statements will appear in the record. the chair recognizes secretary johnson for an opening statement. >> thank you, chairman. congressman thompson, members of the committee, it is a pleasure to appear before you again. you have my prepared statement. i will not read it in entirety. let me just give you a few thoughts. last month i attended on 9/11
the ceremony that occurred in shanksville, pennsylvania. this was the 14th anniversary of 9/11. that ceremony in particular was a sobering reminder of the acts of terrorism but also the acts of heroism that day, rticularly on flight 93, the 40 passengers and crew that day. i met almost all of their families. the event on 9/11 with the most prominent and devastating example of terrorist attacks of those recruited, trained, and directed overseas and exported to our homeland. the 9/11 hijackers were acting on orders from al qaeda's external operations chief who was in turn carrying out the direction of osama bin laden. like wise the attempted shoe bomber in december, 2001, the attempted underwear bomber in december, 2009, the attempted
times square car bombing in 2010 and the attempted package bomb plot in october, 2010, were all efforts to export terrorism to the united states. they all appear to have been directed by a terrorist organization overseas. the response to these types of attacks and attempted attacks on our homeland was and is to take the fight directly to the terrorist organizations at locations overseas. but today the global terrorist threat is more decentralized, more complex, and in many respects harder to detect. the new reality involves the potential for smaller scale attacks by those who are either home grown or home based. not exported. and who are inspired by but not necessarily directed by a terrorist organization. today it is no longer necessary for terrorist organizations to
personally recruit, train, and direct operatives overseas and in secret and export them to the u.s. to commit a terrorist attack. today with new and skilled use of the internet, terrorist organizations may publicly recruit and inspire individuals to conduct attacks within their own homelands. al qaeda and the arabian peninsula no longer hide the fact that it builds bombs. it publicizes its instruction manual and magazine and publicly urges people to use it. today we are also concerned about foreign terrorist fighters who are answering public calls to leave their home countries in europe and elsewhere to travel to iraq and syria and to take up the extremist fight there. many of these individuals will return to their home countries with an extremist motive. in this regard, i compliment this committee for the report it issued on september 29
concerning foreign terrorist fighters. i have read it. i believe this committee's work is spot on in many respects in your assessments of the risk. as noted in the report, my department has undertaken much of what is recommended. we have been and are continuing to institute measures to detect and prevent travel by foreign terrorist fighters along with the good work of the f.b.i. the recent wave of attacks and attempted attacks here and in europe reflect the new reality of the global terrorist threat. the boston marathon bombing in april, 2013, the attack on the war memorial and parliament building in ottawa in october, 2014. the attack on the charlie hebdo headquarters in paris, france in january, 2015. the attempted attack in garland city, texas in may, 2015. and the attack that killed five u.s. service members in
chattanooga, tennessee in july. what do these wave of attacks, recent attacks and attempted attacks all have in common? they were all conducted by home grown or home based actors and they all appeared to have been inspired but not directed by al qaeda or isil. finally, we are concerned about domestic terrorism in the form of a lone wolf who can include various aspects, which can include various aspects of domestic terrorism such as right wing extremism. we devote substantial efforts to the study and understanding of these threats and will continue to further our understanding of the underpinning of terrorist threats in all forms. in terms of what we are doing about it, i look forward to your questions. the last two thoughts i have, members of congress asked me, what can we do to help? how can we support the department's homeland security missions? just two things i'd like to
leave you with. first of all, through the work of this committee and the house, the house passed hr-1731, which in my judgment is a solid cyber security piece of legislation. i hope it or something closely resembling it becomes law. i note that the senate with some managers' amendments offered on the senate floor the other day the cyber security information sharing act. that bill, too, in its current form is in my judgment a good piece of legislation. i hope the senate takes it up on the senate floor, passes it, and it goes to conference with the house's bill. i want to thank the members of this committee who were leaders in that effort. we need cyber security legislation. last thing i'll say, and this is probably the most important thing i can say by way of legislation, i cannot deliver for the american public the
homeland security that the congress expects of me and my department as long as i have to live with a sequestered budget. unless congress repeals sequestration, that will have very significant negative effects to our ability to deliver cyber security, border security, aviation security, maritime security, work with the f.b.i. and others on our counterterrorism efforts, provide protection for our national leaders, and so forth. so i urge congress to repeal sequestration so that we can do what we need to do for the american people. homeland security is the front line of national security. thank you. >> thank you. i certainly agree and we need to reprioritize our budget toward national security and national defense and on the cyber security bill i'm glad we were able to please enhance i think the senate version more toward the house effort and i think we'll have a successful conference committee.
that's my great hope and deliver for you so you can do a better job at that important effort. finally, thank you for your recognition of the report, itself, and the task force. with that, the chair now recognizes mr. respian. >> good morning. like secretary johnson and director comey i welcome today's opportunity to discuss the range of threats to the homeland that concern us the most. but before getting into that threat picture in some detail i want to stress we at nctc are very closely aligned with d.m.s., f.b.i., and other counterterrorism partners in terms of how we view that threat environment. from an analytic perspective the chances of a spectacular, large scale attack in the homeland by an overseas terrorist group have been substantially reduced over the last several years and we have achieved that outcome through aggressive c.t. action against al qaeda overseas and through
the robust homeland security infrastructure we've developed as a country in the last 14 years. while we can look with some degree of satisfaction at the work done to reduce that threat of a large scale, mass casualty attack, there is still quite a bit to be concerned about on the current terrorism landscape. that landscape as you, yourself said, mr. chairman, is in some ways more challenging than ever. it's also clear that the terrorist operating paradigm has shifted and in ways that are proving particularly challenging as we try to identify and disrupt potential threats to the homeland. today there are more threats originating in more places and and ving a more defuse dispratt set of individuals than any time previously. we are intense i everly focused on the threat from isil which you highlighted in your opening statement mr. chairman. in our judgment ice ill has overtaken al qaeda as the leader of the violent extreme iff -- extremist provement.
that conflict is being played out around the world where isil has declared itself to have a province including algeria, libya, egypt, yemen, saudi arabia, afghanistan, and pakistan, nigeria, the caucuses region. potentially southeast asia as well. isil's aggressive growth and expansionist agenda has implications for us here at home in our homeland threat feature. there are three concerning features in my judgment. the first is their access to extensive resources in terms of man power, military materiel, and funds. the second concerning feature of isil is a territorial control the group texter sighss -- the group exercises in iraq and syria as well as some of the provinces. the third is something you highlighted, m chairman. their access to a large pool of individuals from western countries both those who have traveled to iraq and syria and those who have remained in their home countries. when we look for indicators or potential external operations
capabilities that could threaten the homeland from isil these are the key features we generally expect to see. they are present with isil. secretary johnson also alluded to how we are coming to view the threat from isil especially the homeland piece of that threat. we've started to view isil's involvement in homeland attack activity as falling along a spectrum. at one end we see isolated individuals who draw inspiration from isil's highly sophisticated media content. even if leadership isn't directly guiding their actions. the other end of the spectrum we assess there are individuals who may receive direct guidance and specific direction from isil members. more often than not individuals we see here in the homeland tend to operate somewhere between those two creating a fluid picture that is difficult to assess. second if you look beyond the threat it poses to the homeland we continue to devote substantial attention to al qaeda and its affiliates around
the world. despite the media attention focused on isil in no respect would i or our intelligence committee downgrade our attention on al qaeda related activity in favor of greater focus on isil. i am often asked in public settings to identify what my number one terrorism concern is and i decline to answer because i wouldn't want our focus on one terrorist threat to suggest we are not focused on other significant threats we are confronting. specifically right now we're closely watching for signs that al qaeda's attack capability is potentially being restored ahead of the u.s. military draw down in afghanistan. while the ability of al qaeda to train, recruit, and deploy operatives from their safe haven in south asia has been degraded, we continue to watch for and track incages that core al qaeda is in fact engaged in plotting activity aimed at the homeland. in the statements for the record both director comey and secretary johnson singled out al qaeda in the arab ya peninsula for attention for
good reason. the threat remains at the top of our list of analytic priorities given their unrelenting focus on targeting u.s. interests including potentially the aviation sector. beyond yemen we've also been watching al qaeda's affiliated net works with individuals in syria who may be looking to carry out external operations against the west or potentially the homeland. while we've had very public successes in terms of disrupting some of the individuals involved in that plotting from syria, there is clearly more to be done in this regard and the work continues. our third area of priority, my last area i'll mention in my remarks is the growing use of simple opportunity driven attacks by home grown violent extremists. that style of attack is clearly proliferated within the last several years. when you look back to 2009 we were seeing on average less than two or three of those incidents per year. by last year, 2014, that number was a dozen. to date this number of incidents or disrupted plots
has doubled this year suggesting there are a greater number of h.v.e.'s inside the united states pursuing potential attack plans. while it is very difficult to put precise numbers on that population of home grown violent extremists here in the united states there is no question in my mind or mind of our analysts this population has increased in size over the last 18 months. in my judgment, isil has injected new energy and life into that population of home grown violent extremists. isil for its part knows it can have a real impact by motivating individuals to act in their own locations by carrying out individual attacks even on a relatively modest scale. that is particularly true if several such attacks were strewn together in a compressed time frame. that is a significant innovation in the terrorist playbook. something al qaeda never quite managed to deploy against us. it requires that we in the counterterrorism community innovate and adapt as well. to conclude, i want to assure you and the rest of the committee we continue to work every day to detect, defeat,
and disrupt all manner of threats from across the full spectrum of terrorist concerns that we have. i look forward to discussing these issues with you and the committee in greater depth. >> thank you, sir. we appreciate the work that you do. the chair recognizes mr. comey. >> thank you. thank you for inviting me here today. my colleagues have made clear in their opening statements something that i wopet be repeat that isil has broken the model. i want to explain why that change in model leaves us to talk so much about the challenges we face with encryption, very briefly. social media has transformed human experience in wonderful ways. i have no idea where anybody from my fifth grade class at ps-16 in yonkers, new york is today. my kids will know everything about everybody from their fifth grade class for the rest of their life. there's good and bad to that. on balance i think it's wonderful. ut isil has used that social media to break the model. and push into the united states
into the pocket on to the mobile devices of troubled souls throughout our country in all 50 states a twin message. come or kill. come or kill. come to the so-called caliphate. live a life of glory. participate in the final battle god's good and evil on side. come to the caliphate and if you can't come, kill where you are. social media works to connect us. it works as a way to sell cars or shoes or a movie. it works to crowd source terrorism. so starting in the summer of 2014 they really invested in this. and it works. it led to troubled souls convincing themselves there was meaning for them in syria and iraq or they should engage in acts of violence in the united states. that investment started to pay dividends and tax all of our resources in the spring of this year when suddenly we had dozens and dozens of cases in the united states of people progressing along the spectrum from consuming to acting to killing where they are.
thank goodness thanks to tremendous work by the men and women who work for us that was disrupted. we arrested dozens of people during this year to disrupt those plots. the challenge we face is enormous. because this broken model, this crowd sourcing of terrorism means there are hundreds of people across our great country who are troubled, who are consuming this poison. we have investigations in all 50 states try and understand so where are they from consuming to acting? very hard to find them and evaluate them. it gets harder still. it's not just a nation wide hay stack. we're looking for needles. isil makes the needles disappear because they find a live one through twitter, they will move them through all these investigations to an end-to-end mobile messaging app that is encrypted and then the needle disappears. so we know somebody is really dangerous to us. the needle goes invisible to us. that is very, very concerning. the reason we are talking so much about encryption is we see in isil and more broadly a
conflict between two values everybody in america cares about. we all care about safety and security on the internet. i and nick and jay are huge fans of encryption. we want our key data encrypted. it helps the f.b.i. fight cyber intrusions. that value, safety and security is colliding with public safety. which we all care deeply about. we don't have an easy answer. but a great democracy should see when its values are in collision and talk about how we might resolve those two things. there is no easy answer. the good news is we're having productive conversations with local law enforcement which cares deeply about this, with our allies, and with the companies who make these devices and offer these services because they are good folks who care about both values. this is a really hard problem for our country. we're not here to tell what the answer is. we're here just to tell folks, the example i use is the f.b.i. is not an alien force imposed upon america from mars. right? we belong to the american people. we have the tools the american
people gave us through you. and our job when one of those tools isn't working so much is to tell the american people. that's why we're talking so much about encryption. you see it in the isil cases. you see it in kidnapping cases, drug cases, child abuse cases. there is a conflict in our values that we simply must figure out how to resolve. it is obvious in the case of isil. we'll continue doing the work. i'm very grateful as my colleagues are for the high quality product this committee did on travelers, those responding to the first part of that siren song. that come, something interesting happening that i want to tell the committee about. just in the last few months, we are seeing fewer people attempt to travel to join isil in syria. we have seen six in the last three and a half months. we were seeing nine a month in all the months before that. i don't know what to make of that. one possibility is we're not seeing it the way we were before. they're still going. another possibility is all of our efforts to lock people up and punish them for going is
making a difference. another difference is help from our colleagues around the world especially the turks or something else. but we're starting to notice that curve which was going up like a hockey stick flatten a little bit and we'll keep you posted on whether that continues but this committee has done such great work on that topic i wanted you to know that fact. we are very grateful for the opportunity for this conversation. >> thank you, director. the chair now recognizes himself for questioning. let me say on the encryption issue, this committee is meeting with technology companies trying to find a solution to that. you have the foreign fighter threat, but the threat over the internet is real and it's gone viral. the good news is jena hussein was taken out by an air strike. that is publicly reported and had some impact i think. but it's going to continue until we find a solution. i want to commend you for the
success both you and the secretary have had in stopping so many plots. we put out a monthly terror snap shot and the fact is every month these numbers go up in terms of terror plots. we had 17 terror plots here in the united states. isis directed or inspired. and overall, almost 70 isis related individuals arrested. you don't know what you don't know. the chattanooga case is a good example. you can't stop all this and the chatter is so high it's hard to stop all of it. my first question just very simply, is, and i'll direct it to the secretary, do you consider the threat environment to the homeland to be one of the greatest since 9/11? >> [no audio] >> your mike. >> i tend not to rank threats try to make an assessment
because we have to focus on a number of things. the point that i want to stress is that it's different. it's different than what it was in the 9/11 period in that it is more decentralized and more defused. it's more complicated because of the going dark phenomenon because of the very effective use of social media and because of the potential for the lone actor who isn't necessarily exported from overseas but who could strike here at any more , which requires complex response, more whole of government response. we are very concerned. i'm encouraged by the numbers jim cited of those we know about who attempted to leave but we also know that isil is still out there every day making an appeal. so we've got to stay busy.
>> director comey? >> i think about it the way jeh does. in some ways, we are demonstrabley safer thanks to the work of this committee and the whole of government. our country is better deployed, smarter, tougher, than before 9/11. as director rasmussen said i agree that the threat of the big thing is not gone but it is diminished significantly. at the same time there's been a spread of the threat in all of the lightly governed or ungoverned spaces throughout the world. we're looking at libya closely now and the sinai and lots over parts of the world. so it has become more defuse. it moves at us faster through social media. there's a whole lot more people in the united states energized, troubled souls, than there were by core al qaeda at or after 9/11. so it is just very different today. >> mr. rasmussen? >> one thing, the only thing i would add is the defusion and
dispersal of the threat creates a particular problem in that it stretches our resources. the blanket has to cover more of the bed. when you look around the world at all of the locations, all of the safe haven locations, the regions of instability around the world where a potential terrorist threat might emanate from are areas we have to look to enhance our collection of intelligence, ability to partner with governments in those regions, and that's just a resource challenge. if you think about the period dealing with core al qaeda we were focused intense i everly on pakistan and afghanistan. now you could rattle off 12 or 15 countries where we're very active. >> let me move quickly to the latest edition of the beak which is isis' basically inspire magazine, "dabiq." they discuss the idea of moving a weapon of mass destruction through trans national criminal organizations into the western hemisphere and across the
southwest border from mexico into the united states. being from texas this certainly concerns me. of course not getting into specifics but a plot was disrupted at a muldova trying to smuggle two islamist terror organization nuclear materials that could have reached our shores. director comey, how serious do ou take this threat? >> deadly seriously. this is something we have worried about for a long time. we have a division of the f.b.i. the weapons of mass destruction doctorate where people wake up every single day worrying about this. it is one of the reasons we've tried to build such good relationships with our law enforcement colleagues in so many of the places where there might be materials available including former soviet states and so it is the classic, extremely low probability, extraordinarily high impact event. it has our constant focus.
>> my final question is on the syrian refugees. we've had testimony before this committee that we don't have intelligence on the ground, so we can't properly vet these individuals through data bases. we don't know who they are. i visited a camp in jordan with some members of the committee and we were told the same thing. i know the administration is planning on moving as high as 10,000 refugees into the country. just very quickly, how concerned are you from a security perspective on this? do you think this will increase your counterterrorism case load if we bring in 10,000 syrians into the united states? secretary johnson? > chairman, we -- i am concerned that we do the proper security vetting for refugees we bring into this country. we've committed to 10,000 and i've committed that each one will receive a careful security
vetting. it is true that we're not going to know a whole lot about a lot of the syrians that come forth in this process. just given the nature of the situation. and so we are doing better at checking all of the right data bases and the law enforcement and intelligence communities than we used to. and so it's a good process and a thorough process but that definitely is a challenge. >> director comey? >> i don't think i have anything to add to jeh. he describes it well. we see a risk there and we'll work hard to mitigate it. our challenge will be as good as we have gotten ourselves at querying our holdings to understand somebody, if the person has never crossed our radar screen there won't be anything to query against. so we do see a risk there. >> for the record, we're a humanitarian nation. it is a humanitarian crisis. but we also have a responsibility to protect the american people and to me that's pair mount as well.
the chair now recognizes ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. taking off from your question, relative to the syrian can each of you explain your agency's position on the vetting process for these refugees? a lot of us are concerned about whether or not you have enough information available to you to do an accurate vetting. you , mr. rasmussen, can -- >> i'm happy to start. we, as director comey suggested, we have a lot of lessons learned in this area from when we went through similar processes over the last several years dealing with other large refugee populations so i think we've now worked successfully to make sure that
every bit of available intelligence information that the united states government holds will be looked at with respect to a potential nexus to someone being screened as a potential refugee. i certainly feel good about that process and the degree to which we've tightened that up over time. you can't account for what you don't know and that goes to the intelligence deficit that i think is embedded in your question. what we can do, though, is understand where the potential vulnerabilities are so we're asking in the screening and vetting process the right kinds of questions to give our screeners and vetters the best possible opportunity to make an informed judgment. it is not a perfect process. there is a degree of risk attached to any screening and vetting process. we look to manage that risk as best we can. >> mr. secretary? >> each of us at the table here is acutely aware that in our world one failure is the
equivalent of 10,000 successes. and there are in fact lessons we learned from the vetting process with regard to the iraqi refugees we took in. the process has improved. we're better at connecting dots, checking the data bases with information we have, and my people and uscis to do this will be on the ground in places to vet refugees along with the state department. they will do so in consultation with our law enforcement and intelligence agency partners. we will do it carefully. we've made this commitment but we will commit the resources to do it and we will do it carefully. >> mr. director? >> i don't think i have anything useful to add. my view are captured by what both the secretary and director said. >> so it's your feeling that
our existing systems are robust enough to assure this committee that, to the extent practical, no terrorist can get through that process? >> well, the issue we face obviously is what jim mentioned, we may have somebody who comes to us and is simply not on our radar for any discern ibble reason. and there may also be the possibility that somebody decides to do something bad after they've been admitted through the process. ut we do have a good system in place for the undertaking that we have made. this director, before committee assistant director
steinbeck said that the concerns in syria are that we don't have the systems in place on the ground to collect the information to vet. that would be the concern. data bases don't hold the information on these individuals. is that still the position of the department? >> yes. i think that's the challenge we're all talking about is that we can only query against that which we have collected. so if someone what is never made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way that would get them in our data base we can query until the cows come home but nothing will show up because we have no record on that person. that's what the director was talking about. you can only query what you've collected. and with respect to iraqi refugees we had far more in our data bases because of our country's work there for a
decade. this is a different situation. >> the chair recognizes mr. smith from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to get some figures on the table. i understand -- about 15,000 syrian refugees this year and as many as 25,000 to 30,000 next year. is that generally correct? >> the number this year is 10,000. >> and then next year would be how many? >> i don't believe that a firm decision has been made with respect to fy-17. this year we've said 10,000. >> it's been reported there would be two or three times that many next year. much more of a significant increase. you've all used the word "risk" to describe admitting these refugees and i assume that we've heard and read is accurate and that is terrorist organizations are going to be tempted to try to infiltrate the refugees and try to sneak
individuals into this country who might commit terrorist acts. i guess the question i have for you is how likely is it that terrorist organizations are going to try to take advantage of the admission of these refugees to get people in this country who might commit terrorist acts? is it likely? not likely? >> we've certainly seen terrorist groups talk about, think about exactly what you're describing, mr. smith, trying to use available programs to get people not only in the united states but into western european countries as well. so we know that they aspire to do that. i don't know that i would go so far as to say they are likely to succeed because again, we -- >> is it possible to conduct background checks on these individuals or is it only if they're already in the data base that they would be flagged? in other words, terrorist organization isn't going to try to get someone in as a refugee if they already have a public
background that you would be able to uncover. they're going to get people into the country who have not yet committed a terrorist act. don't you think it's likely they're going to try to do that? >> there is a pretty thorough vetting process of each individual which encompasses a personal assessment of each individual, which includes an interview. it's not just simply what's in a public record does the person have a rap sheet of any kind. >> a little bit of my concern you're relying upon them and what they say or what they write out in an application and you can't go beyond that. so you're sort of having to take their word for it. another red flag to me is that i, in the past years, historically, traditionally refugees have been members of families and yet the typical profile of a syrian refugee i am told is most are young, single males. as opposed to family members. if so, to me that would raise a red flag as well. do you have any information or
comments about that? > coming from me, sir, one observation i have of resettled syrian refugees in this country so far is that they tend to settle into communities that are very -- that embrace them, that are very supportive. in syrian american communities around the country. i've seen that personally, myself. it tends to be a pretty tight knit, supportive community. >> okay. well, as i say, both the profile and the motives of terrorist organizations and your admission that there is some risk involved, to me, would persuade the administration to go slow rather than fast when it comes to admitting individuals who might not or who might do us harm. secretary, i want to move to another subject. the administration, this is more domestic concern shall the
administration has announced next month it is going to release a number of thousands of individuals from federal prison. how many individuals is the projection that will be released next month? these are criminal aliens. >> well, the total number that the department of justice plans to release pursuant to their guidelines adjustment next month i'm told is about 2,000. >> 2,000. >> yes. >> how many of those individuals will be put into process to be removed? >> a fair number. this is something, let me stress this is something we've been working on now for about a year and the thing that i am focused on that i have been focused on of those who are released who are undocumented, that they come directly into our custody. that they're not released to the streets. >> okay. >> so i believe that process, because i've checked numerous times, is in place and that is exactly what is going to occur. >> good.
last time you appeared before this committee i brought up the figure that the administration is releasing close to 30,000 people every year who have been in prison, been arrested, mostly convicted and released them back out into our communities and neighborhoods. you said that figure was going to go down dramatically. it needed to stop. i've heard that for a couple years now. is the administration still releasing individuals back into our communities who are in the country illegally who have been convicted of crimes or are those individuals into removal procedures now? >> as i'm sure you are aware if someone is in immigration detention with a final order of removal the law says that we have to do a six-month assessment and if repatriation is not imminent there are only limited circumstances under which we can hold them. i have changed the process for deciding the circumstances under which that happens. we don't have the final numbers yet for fy-15. but i believe that the number
of those who have been released who have been convicted of crimes has gone down from 30,000. >> to what number? >> i don't have the number yet but i'm told it has gone down from 30,000. fy-13 it was about 34,000 as i'm sure you'll recall. 2014 was about 30,000 and the umber i believe was 30,000 for fy-15. >> thank you. >> i just want to state for the record that isis has been on record through a smuggler stating they want to exploit the refugee process to infiltrate the west. i take them at their word. so i would caution the administration to proceed very carefully in this program. the chair recognizes mr. lunsman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you and the witnesses for being here today nd your testimony.
i'll turn to another factor going back to the issue of cyber security which we referenced a couple times. i thank the chairman for his leadership on this issue and the ranking member. mr. secretary you referenced and have spoken about this before the recent breach of opm's networks and the role dhs has in protecting agency networks. now i understand the leadership at opm at the time was asleep at the switch and they ignored warnings from their own inspector general and i know that the dhs can provide tools, einstein, cdm to assist agencies. i ask you at this point for an update. can you tell me with confidence that other agencies under your care will not suffer a breach like opm's? >> i can tell you that we're making rapid and significant progress to ensure that there was not happen. the einstein system right now which has the ability to block intrusions is available and deployed to about half the
federal civilian government. i have directed my folks at dhs to make it available to 100% by the end of this year and i believe we're on track to do that. we have gotten agency heads who by law are responsible for heir own cyber security to focus on this issue, issued a binding operational directive in may pursuant to authority given to me by the congress to do that which is in effect a score card to get agency heads to focus on this issue. we have a very agressive plan for enhancing our diagnostics ability. so i believe that awareness in these agencies has been enhanced significantly, including because of the opm breach and that we're on an aggressive timetable to cross the federal government --
across the federal government ensure this kind of thing can't happen or the risk is significantly reduced. >> i want to know, this authority pursuant to what congress authorized, how does it work and what are the consequences if an operational directive is ignored by the agency? >> well, basically the way the authority works, that congress has given me, i have the ability to go to each agency and say, here's -- here are your vulnerabilities. you need to clean them up by a certain date. and if you don't they'll be highlighted. and we'll have to follow up with you on this. >> highlighted but what does that mean? what's the consequence if they ignore your -- >> my recollection and now i'm working on recollection is that it means a report to congress and a report to o.m.b. but i don't have the authority
to simply do that job for an agency head myself or in any way fine them or sanction them. >> that's a frustration which i've been talking about for a long time that i think you or somebody needs that authority. before my time is up do you still believe that agencies should have primary responsibility for their network defense? >> i believe that agency directors, administrators, themselves, should be principally responsible for their own networks. i also believe d.m.s. should have the overall responsibility for the security of the federal civilian.gov system. but it should be on each agency head to take responsibility for his or her own network. >> i would tend to agree with you. mr. secretary as you know one of my chief concerns is protection of critical infrastructure from cyber attack. i think all of us on this committee are aware of the threat that is faced in cyber
space. i'm curious about your take on the response of critical infrastructure owners and operators. in my experience there has been a tendency to meet the minimum requirements put on them but to ask the government to incentivize any measure taken beyond that. do you believe they're innovating in their defensive efforts or just generally getting by? >> i think it depends on the size of the business and the segment they're in but i believe that owners and operators of critical infrastructure are taking the threat more and more significantly because of the information we are sharing with them about what we are seeing. about some of the threats that have been directed to them. so i believe that there is an increasing awareness out there and it's not just a minimalist approach. >> thank you. secretary comey, in your testimony you referenced the
steps the f.b.i. has taken to continue to gather intelligence and stop terrorism despite the challenge of going dark. i share your concern. can you expand beyond working with tech companies to address the problem directly and acknowledging you are not asking for a legislative solution, what other methods the f.b.i. does employ? >> thank you, cram crasm. thank you, congressman. when we face a needle that's gone invisible we have to lean more heavily on traditional law enforcement techniques. see if we can get a source close to the person, an undercover close to the person. see if physical surveillance tells us something about the person. there are obvious short comings in those techniques but we're not going to stop trying to get the job done so we'll just lean on other things we've done for years. it'll be inadequate frankly but we'll keep working at it. >> this is an issue that i have increasing concern about that's going dark and our intelligence, law enforcement's
ability to adequately see into the threats that are facing us and the challenge we have to continue to confront. >> i share that concern as well. >> the chair recognizes mr. rogers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i share the concerns outlined by mr. smith about isil using the syrian refugees that the president has decided to allow into this country as a vehicle to sneak bad actors in. you described a, "pretty thorough vetting process" as part of your response to his answer. can you tell me more about that process? >> well, first of all we're happy to brief you on the more sensitive aspects of it in a nonpublic setting. but it involves consulting a number of different agencies, law enforcement and intelligence, and the information that they have regarding each individual applicant.
it is a more robust process than it used to be. to some it is time consuming but it is something that i think we need to do. and it involves any information we may have that may take some time to resolve any uncertainties about the information. sometimes there may be a variance in a name or date of birth or something of that nature. but it involves consulting a number of different agencies as well as a personal interview and gathering simply as much information as we possibly have about the person. >> i would appreciate it if you'd have your appropriate staff member schedule that for me. any other members of the committee that would like to participate. dr. comey, from personal experience i've seen your agency do some phenomenal things with virtually no evidence other than a bad act o locate bad people. having said that, i am curious
to know is there any other tool we could provide you that would locate these people on social media that are recruiting and organizing in this country that you don't have at present? >> i don't think so, congressman. to me this conversation about going dark is not about new authority for the f.b.i. you have given us the authority to go to federal judges and make a showing of probable cause and get a search warrant or get an order to intercept communications. we think that's appropriate. we're big fans of the rule of law and the bill of rights so i think that's a good set of authorities. the challenge we face is solving the problems where those tools under the fourth amendment are no longer as effective as they were before. and that is the huge, knotty problem i'm talking about. i don't see it as more authorities for the f.b.i. i see it as all of us together trying to figure out how the authorities we already have, the american people have given us, can be used to good effect.
>> you also made reference earlier, you and secretary johnson, about this surge of activity that you're having to manage now. do you have the adequate resources to deal with that surge? i know secretary johnson has talked about sequestration and its burdens on his agency. what do you think about that? do you have what you need? >> the honest answer is i don't know, for this reason i say that. if what we experienced in may, june, and the early part of july were to become the new normal, it would really stretch the f.b.i. because to meet that surge we had to move a lot of folks from criminal work. because surveillance is only easy on tv. following somebody 24/7 without them knowing you're there is really hard. we had to search hundreds of people from criminal cases which are important and move them over to the national security side. that bump in cases has dropped off a little bit and so we're watching it very closely.
we've moved people back to be able to do the criminal work but if that surge becomes our i'll have a different view. >> we want to be helpful and give you the tools that you need but frankly we have to hear from you on what you need. we can't help you unless you tell us what you need. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. i'll yield back. the challenges in light of you described in terms of encryption and expanding social networking, one strategy is to maximize our other abilities to thwart terrorist acts. along those lines it has been a priority of mine and the committee to look at enhancing information sharing amongst federal agencies, and local law enforcement as well, particularly in the wake of the boston marathon bombing. the fbi has moved
forward in this and i know the recommendations we are reviewing here. could give us you an update on what you have done already in the wake of the boston marathon bombing, use that as a timeframe, and what you see going forward? director comey: thank you keating.an i think we learned good things for us to get better coming out of the bombing. i appreciate your focus on it. i believe we are in a much better place today. we could really be better, but here is how i think about the improvement. we make sure everyone on the joint terrorism task force knows the default is sharing information. in particular, we want the leaders of the agencies represented to understand that active participation. we do inventory review on a
regular basis. sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. we want everyone to come in and say this is what we opened in the last month and this is what , and questions and concerns. but also if there is something else they want to do, they are able to do that. we have pushed that both in letter and spirit to understand, we are all in this together, especially this threat that is so spread out. we need state and local partners to spot this and stop it. we are much better than we were two years ago. i want to be. that there are always ways to improve but that is my sense. youreating: i think agencies have done a great job in wording so many terrorist threats. you have done a great job of swatting the mosquitoes.
the other thing we have to do, in light of some challenges, is to dry up the swamp as much as we can. along those lines, think it's done, thedhs has office of community partnerships and making that the central point of trying to thwart some of these attacks. i would like to ask the secretary, what is your progress in that. how do you value that , how is your funding for that? if you could, i think it is peer,ing that peer to your progress with that program and how it might be working. it is important. we are a great country. no one has the resources to out message us, but we are not maximizing on that, and that is important. if you could comment on that. sec. johnson: thank you for the question. i have taken a great personal violent in countering
extremism. i believe it is fundamental and indispensable to our overall efforts. i have done a number of community engagements myself. the reason i created the office for community partnerships is because we need to take the efforts to the next level. what this office does is consolidate in one place all the people across my department that are devoted to the efforts. i want to build on that so we have a field capability and i want an office that will in addition to engaging the community also engaged the tech developphilanthropies, our own grantmaking capabilities here, in terms of adequate funding the biggest i will keep coming back to is please repeal sequestration. if i have to deal with that, then i come up short on lots of things. >> how about the peer-to-peer program?
engaging young people in terms of the messaging process. amongohnson: i think that bright, college aged people in particular, lie the best ideas on cde for the way forward. i have engaged several college organizations on helping us in our effort. that is a work in progress. in my experience, young people tend to approach it a little differently than older, more experienced people of their parents age. i can talk with you at later detail off-line about. that yourcomment, agencies have are important. that's why you're here. but if we want to be successful we have to expand beyond that in the nonprofit side, the public side, private side, and obtain
more engagement. i think we should not shortchange resources at all your agencies to try to do that because i think it is important. it is an aspect we have not maximized. thank you. >> i want to commend the secretary for adopting a lot of the provisions in combating violent extremism bill. we appreciate that. chair recognizes mr. duncan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary johnson, the term otm is a dhs term? sec. johnson: it is certainly a term we use around dhs. across thepprehended border not of mexican descent? sec. johnson: yes. >> i will talk all latinos out here it there are other people across the border of african, asian and middle eastern descent, am i not correct. sec. johnson: yes. >> apprehended crossing the
southern border? sec. johnson: yes. >> our southern border is not secure. we have no idea who is coming into the country. i can go on to iran and hezbollah, and the ties between that thend paraguay, chairman and i investigated a number of years ago. we have no idea who is in the country. we have no idea who can come into the southern border because it is not secure. are you familiar with the jewish man start -- shot in brussels in may or june of 2014? sec. johnson: yes. died.eral people the perpetrator was a foreign fighter trained in libya are syria, or a rock. we are not sure, but he made his way back into europe. because of open borders he made his way to brussels and killed several people, and then fled
was justay to france, about to jump out of europe into africa before he was apprehended. flow isfighter something we have to be serious about, especially because of open borders. especially because of the millions of middle-aged and young middle eastern men that have migrated to europe, who could possibly have the ability to enter in this country because of open borders visa waiver programs. it might not be this year, it could be five years after citizenship. whatever it takes, i will say this. i think the chairman misspoke when he used the number 10,000 immigrants coming in the country. i have heard the number as 100,000 year. regardless, it is too many if we do not have the ability to vet those individuals. some of those will come to south
carolina. i will tell you the people in south carolina are concerned vetut our inability to property the refugees coming. i have been to the refugee camp in jordan. i understand the immense challenge that we face a humanitarian standpoint. need or desiree for middle eastern people to try to create a better life for their family. i think the chairman spoke appropriately saying we are a humanitarian nation. but we have a different situation on our hands . we have a group known as isis, and al qaeda is still relative, who want to come to this country, who have said they will --loit this refugee country program to come to this country. if they can go to europe and jumped africa and make it to south america because of our open borders, they could come across our border the way the otm's are coming today.
tell people in south carolina about our vetting of these refugees that will put their minds to rest? that we are properly vetting everyone coming into this state that may wish to harm the united states? ofase share with me some bit good news about this refugee resettlement program, because i'm not hearing it. news is comey: the good we are much better at doing it than we were eight years ago. the bad news is there is no risk free process. >> i hear interviews in the but i alsogee camps, hear the records are not there. i just want to encourage you to rethink the resettlement
of refugees in this country especially in the numbers i am hearing. i yield back. clarification. thrown out the 100,000 number as syrian refugees. my understanding it is 100,000 refugees total worldwide, 10,000 potentially from syria. maybe you want to clarify that. sec. johnson: what we have said we will commit to resettling 10,000 syrian refugees, and a total worldwide of 85,000. >> i just wanted to get that on the record. >> if i made, where do we anticipate them coming from? syria, iraq, afghanistan, libya? do we have any idea? can we identify the countries being targeted are resettlement?
-- four resettlement? sec. johnson: it is done by region of the world, that is a publicly available fact. refugees come from every part of the world, obviously some more troubled faces than others. >> mrs. watson coleman. >> thank you for holding this hearing. q gentlemen. it is actually comforting to hear you refer to each other by first name, it means you are collaborating in cooperating. it is good there is a relationship there. it makes me feel better, although this is a very scary time. i have a few questions. i want to start with a question with you, mr. johnson. the secret service is leading an investigation of an online said hehat recently gained access not only to see director's personal e-mail accounts, but also your own e-mail account. will you please describe what
the current plan is in place for the secret service to prevent this intrusion given the the department has experienced recently including the opm data breach? i don't think i can comment about an ongoing investigation. the one thing i will say is don't believe everything you read in the newspaper, because a lot of it is inaccurate. there is a pending investigation by the fbi and secret service. i don't think i can comment right now. >> ok, thank you. how wery interested in are approaching and looking at the security and safety threats to us. obviously, but those who are influenced or direct by foreign countries and jihadists, but own homegrownur
right wing extremist, who read dangerous conditions on a suspect people. i would like to know from the three of you whether or not there is an assessment of a greater risk or equal risk, or lower risk from one type of violent experience as opposed to the other, and what kind of resource application we had across the various entities that deal with both types, right wing extremists. director comey: there are two parts to the counterterrorism division. international and domestic. we have hundreds and hundreds of able wake up every day worrying about the mystic extremist, -- whostic extremists, people are not inspired or motivated by international terrorism organizations that people who see themselves as part of some
political resistance movement or some racially motivated movement in the united states. we do a lot of work on that front. our assessment is about the same as it was over the last couple of years. it is about the same. international terrorism threat with respect to that coming from the outside in and those motivated internally has changed, and gone up especially with those responding to isil's message. >> for clarification, is there any sort of ranking between the violence?of is there a greater threat from the domestic right-wing extremist who is racist and anti-semitic, as opposed to the jihadist inspired or directed? director comey: we do not compare them in that way. it is like which do you dislike
moore, heart attacks are cancer. they are both very dangerous. >> and just trying to get at, is there a difference in the application of resources for one type versus the other? i did the different offices in charge of one type or the other or is there a cross pollination? director comey: there are two thesions in counterterrorism division. one on domestic and the other on the international including its manifestations inside the country. they talk to each other a lot. i have done briefings from them jointly. they worry about crossover. we think about them using the same intelligence resources. we apply the same tools to understand presence on social media. as theaddressing both serious threat they are. >> are we collecting information on the type of violence that
occurs like that occurred at mother bethel church and around the country? i we collecting that data and putting it into a database and sharing that, so we have an understanding of those types of violent extremists? director comey: yes. >> thank you. do you care to comment, mr. johnson? sec. johnson: i don't think there's anything i can add. director rasmussen: i agree. actually, my mission leads me outside of the domestic terrorism except for analytical purposes. do we havequestion, knowledge on whether or not we have had the same kind of angst and anxiety with resettlement from the iraqi refugees, and did we find that angst has been addressed, have we learned lessons and done things differently? sec. johnson: short answer is
yes, we have. there have been lessons learned from that refugee experience. with the fbi, inc. we had improved the process. >> thank you very much. >> mr. clawson. >> thank you for your leadership as always, and i appreciate all three of you coming today and what you do for the country and the sacrifice you make. it is not small. i appreciate that. tired of the bad trade deals our country makes. i get tired of trading partners taking us to the cleaners. i get tired of paying american manufacturing jobs going overseas. i am the uaw if i'm not happy with the chinese currency and export currencies. as we see american manufacturing
infrastructure get decimated, pretty soon we are just not going to make anything. why not protect the american worker a little bit? on top of that, the chinese hack us. billions of dollars go to the chinese any trade deficit/ they had our companies, and -- a hack our companies and government and we keep on trading. as i understand it, you said time will tell whether what we have done little keep them from hacking in the future. i say, why don't we protect the american worker, the american andany, american unions, our infrastructure at the same time? because if we put our markets on , anymore and said hacking, you lose access to retail market, that would go
away immediately, because they depend on us to live. while i watch our manufacturing sector get decimated, and these people hacking us, you are there with the administration. i just wonder why we don't use the obvious leverage we have. it is obvious. and it makes me upset because i see so many of my hands and people i grew up with that lose good paying american jobs. and you say only time will tell whether the chinese will obey us or not. while we open up our markets. and i missing something on my analysis of the situation? sec. johnson: in response to cyber attacks on our government and on the private sector, there are a number of things seen and unseen we have done, and that we are considering. what i was referring to when i say time will tell, when the president of china was here, and in the run-up to his visit, the
chinese government agreed that and theft ofonage commercial information for commercial purposes was wrong and was a crime. they agreed to that in writing. time will tell whether they will live up to that agreement. but it was significant in the sense that they publicly, out of the mouth of their president, committed to that. but time will tell. have we ever talked as the leadership of our country of using the obvious market oferage we have as a third the global gdp and source of economic growth for the whole world, do we ever talk about using that leverage to get not only fair trade deals, but keep them from robbing our ip and hacking? we could stop it next month, just shut down the retail
markets to cheaters and let the american worker catch a break for once. all at the same time. sec. johnson: i would refer you to other agencies of the government about that. >> you are on the board of directors, you are on the staff part of this touches you. i think if you were back in the private sector, that answer might not be acceptable. i'm asking, does the senior leadership of our country as we get taken to the cleaners on trade and hacking and ip, has anybody thought about using our markets as leverage? do you talk about that? sec. johnson: i suspect the answer is yes. >> i would like to see a little there. sec. johnson: i had been refer you to other agencies of our government back and give you an answer. >> the american worker does not want referring to other agencies. people who get technology still in don't want reform and. they want leadership. we are getting taken to the
cleaners on four different fronts and we don't want to get to -- referred to an outside study. we want leadership for american jobs and technology. i don't inc. that is too much to ask. you are part of the team. help our country, help our companies and help unions and workers get a fair shake. i yield back. >> ms. jackson lee. >> good morning. thank you to determine and ranking member for these important hearings on protecting the american people. i want to pursue a line of questioning that sort of follows the opening statements that you gentlemen have made. the director of the national terrorism center, his statement that the actors around the globe is broader, wider and deeper than and has been ever time
threat/11 and the landscape is unpredictable. i think that is an important sentence that has been crafted and reinforced by the testimony and leadership of all three of you, and i appreciate your service. i have introduced a no-fly for foreign terrorists i would like to pursue, starting with comey, to reinforce the seriousness we should take even though there's a lot of work of individuals leading -- leaving the united states and potentially coming back having gone to be part of the caliphate or isil and come back to the united states. can you frame how expensive that threat is? >> the returning terrorist fighter threat is what i understand you to be asking about, is what we are watching very closely. we see the logic of it telling us that will be a problem for the next five years plus,
because not every terrorists will get killed on the battlefield in syria or iraq. inevitably there will be a diaspora. all three oft that us and the people we represent think about every day and how it will manifest down the road. >> do you maintain a statement you made a couple of weeks ago that there is a terrorist cell states?t, 50 or all 50 director comey: in all 50 states we have opened terrorism that,igations related to we have isil radicalization threads open. >> and you are a supporter of the concept of collecting data. i serve on another committee dealing with crime and terrorism an investigation. my understanding is you believe we should be in the business of ensuring that data is collected
for information on how to act on some of these issues of terrorism in particular. bigctor comey: i do, i am a supporter of the rule of the law and using it to help protect people. >> i would like to add when i say that, the rule of law, thank you, think that is an important point. i would like to put into the record, the no flight for foreign fighters. >> without objection. >> thank you very much. to the secretary, let me are certainlywe concerned about the hacking incident and i realize it is under investigation. i would ask this committee we have an opportunity for a classified briefing. , to haveze for you that issue occur. let me move forward to the issue of the power grid in cyber security, which i believe you
have indicated we need more legislation. the also indicated we should get would have sequester. i support you and many of us do, it is very hard to function. but i also would like to hear about the power grid of the united states and the work the homeland security department is doing the framework. i would like to commend you to legislation i will offer regarding specifically the power grids of the united states. i would also like the director of counterterrorism to as well answer that and follow up by answering a question regarding the handle we had on syrian refugees that may be coming into the united states. i want to thank the secretary for coming to my district and having a productive meeting with syrian americans who are open and welcoming those who may have to come out of persecution.
sec. johnson: with regard to cyber security, the two most significant things that we are hoping and need from congress are provisions in law to encourage the private sector to share information with my department. cyber threat indicator information with my department, sharing the information is vital to our homeland security efforts for the private sector and government. the other thing that is in pending legislation and now the house and senate is something that explicitly authorizes the system we have for detecting, monitoring, and walking unwanted intrusions. what is currently our einstein system. those are two things in pending legislations that will be extremely helpful. >> do you believe that the idea of the cyber security issue is
that a lot of the infrastructures in the private sector, is there enough collaboration in the private sector? we think of power, water and other elements. is there enough of an element of collaboration to be able to put up that firewall of protecting the potential cyber threat? >sec. johnson: there is not enough and we need to encourage more. director rasmussen: degree question on the to which terrorist organizations are interested in developing a cyber capability, they absolutely are. it is a growth industry as far as terrorist organizations are concerned. thus far, the capability seems to be more evident at the low end of the spectrum. thus far the kind of capability we have seen largely shows up in terms of pushing out people's publicly available personal information in a public way that is potentially destructive.
in a interest in attacking cyber way the electrical power grid or clinical infrastructure, thus far we see that as more aspirational, not something where we see capability existing, but we are carefully watching. it is a way for a terrorist group to achieve widespread impact. >> if i could put these items to the record, let me say that we know that a number of terrorist incidents were aspirational to emphasize and i can't enough my concern on the cyber attack of the nation's power grid. i don't think we are putting extra information out. i hope all of you will focus pointedly on that as a major concern. mr. chairman, thank you very much for your testimony, i would like to ask the chairman to put into the record an article from the hill regarding pushing to boost power grid defenses
against isis and a cnn statement regarding isil beginning to perpetrate cyber attacks as the unanimous consent for the record. and to put into the record hr 85. >> without objection. >> and a letter to the president on encryption signed by over 100 individuals who are concerned about any proposals that we don't oversee. i want to give tools appropriately overseas in the right way to protect both the american people and follow the rule of law. >> without objection. >how many more? >> two more. the united states of america report on refugee resettlement and analysis by computer experts on and chris -- encryption. >> without objection. >> mr. chairman, i don't have any reports. but i do have a report i want to
talk about. i appreciate your comments. i am proud of the work the task force did and many of my colleagues were part of that. it was done in a bipartisan manner. when we did this over six months, we spent a lot of time with folks from homeland security and fbi, and a lot of time with the national counterterrorism center. we learned a lot. i could be here all day asking the specifics. there are couple of things i want to touch on. in the wake of 9/11 there was a legislation passed in 2006 to develop a national strategy to combat foreign fighter travel. the landscape has changed tremendously, especially with respect to isis. one of the recommendation is to have a updated report. what are your thoughts on that?
sec. johnson: in general, i do believe we need a comprehensive strategy to foreign terrorist fighter travel. i also agree since 2006 the threat has evolved enormously. particularly from european countries, we are concerned about those who have been to syria and who come to this country from a country for which we do not require a visa. which is why i announced a number of security enhancements with respect to travel from european countries to deal with this threat. it is a significant problem and have, we should have a comprehensive overall strategy for dealing with it.
we are doing a lot on my end. the fbi is doing a lot to interdict those leaving the country. who are going to syria. but this is something that will be with us for a while. it involves working with our friends and allies internationally, working with the government of turkey, which is something i'm focused on. say, it thing i will read most of your report, i did not get through all of it. i thought it was an excellent report. i complemented one of your staff on the elevator ride, -- >> that made his day. he appreciates that. out tohnson: he pointed me, it wasn't me, it was the members of congress. >> and i appreciate that. [laughter] i will add, the one thing we can be sure, iraq
and syria where we are focused on foreign terrorist fighters, we can be certain there is likely around the corner another conflict zone where foreign fighters will be a problem. some of the very things you are report highlighted, the structures and procedures and capabilities in place to deal with this don't necessarily give us an immediate relief. director rasmussen: they don't tell you that the flow of foreign fighters has been slashed or shut down. but i would argue, importantly that we are building capability that will their out over time. like wet secretary johnson said, so much of the work on this problem is international. there is a good news story embedded in that, foreign partners are far more willing to share information then would have been the case in 2006 or seven dealing with the foreign terrorist problem at that time. problem of the
undoubtedly larger and more complex, but the array of resources around the globe, countries that you would never think we would be working, we are exchanging successfully information. theight, it seems like phenomenon and radicalization of homegrown terrorists, is an added twist. i think that weren't enough -- warrants enough for the analysis. i do have a question for you, mr. comey. in the task force and attacks on them. you traditionally have investigated international and domestic terrorism. to direct the question brought earlier, the gatt f does not discriminate under -- jttf does not discriminate the cases. is that correct? director comey: correct.
>> my concern is on top of that, a new phenomenon about isis and the stress that is that on foreign fighters coming back, having to spend capital and resources to track them, which is very difficult as well as trying to find a needle in a haystack those getting radicalized over the internet. i want to make sure we get a good understanding. are they being stressed beyond breaking points, are they ok or do they need more help? director comey: they are being stressed tremendously. they were very very stressed in may and june, and early july in particular. giving your experience, you know what kind of folks they are, they will get the work done. if we have a new normal, we get them to get more resources they need. it is something we watch very carefully. >> i understand working together with the state and local authorities is helping your
leverage, and i encourage what we can to keep that going because it is a very important aspect of the puzzle. thank you very much. >> the chair recognizes mr. horace. -- ms. torres. >> to the fbi director, i want to thank you, personally for the outreach your alley office has done in my district. -- l.a. office has done in my district here at is important we have a face to that the number we are reporting to. they have offered to do a , because we did have members of the community at that hearing. thank you for that work. in your testimony, we were talking about terrorist
propaganda. and the outreach that these terrorist groups are doing through social media. hiem very concerned about t ir infiltration with local gangs. we have placed a lot of attention, and i congratulate you on the international work. my concern is mexican mafia, the white supremacist groups that are targeting african-american communities. i want to ensure on the record that we are doing everything we can to also follow up on those issues. yes, those are an important part of the fbi's work with local partners all day. extremists, the bureau was given the resources after september 11 to make sure we could be great at both. international terrorism
responsibilities and a stick once -- domestic ones. >> earlier you said with sequestration you had had to move people out of criminal investigation to do surveillance work for these potential terrorists that go dark. that is why i bring that out to you. i echo whatey: secretary johnson said about west ration. one of the reasons we have had to move resources is we are trying to hire out of the hole left two years ago. we hired 2000 people. are year, and this year we trying to hire 3000 people we are trying to dig out of that hole and get us the people who can fill those slots. if we get hit again, i don't know what we will do. >> when we met last year, ask about ensuring that you hire people that look like america, and that we are targeting areas where we need certain languages
and certain ethnic backgrounds to be represented at the fbi tape. -- table. how is your progress on that? director comey: it's probably too early to tell but we are devoting a lot of effort to that, to encourage people from all different backgrounds and walks of life to try to get into the fbi. not about lowering standards, we just need people to give us a chance. one of my daughters said, the problem is you are the man. i don't mean that as a good thing, you are the man, nobody wants to work for the man. you have to change the way they think about it. we are working hard, for folks to understand the bureau is a great people -- a great place for latino, african-american people to work. it's a great place. mr. rasmussen, you talked
about the creation of a community engagement group. how do you intend to do that and who are the community partners you would be inviting to participate? director rasmussen: in my written remarks i highlighted the work we are doing alongside secretary johnson's team and comey's team.' in this effort, it ends up being a separate and distinct conversation in almost every community. in each community we work together, the leadership looks different, the problem looks different, the set of actors who have influenced looks different. that is what makes it hard. i think we are doing great work, but it has been hard to scale up because there is no single answer where you say, touch this in los angeles, it works in dallas or miami. that is why it is so important to engage local law
enforcement and ensuring diversity is at the top of the priority. director rasmussen: i agree completely. i would not even suggest we are bringing a solution to those local communities. in many cases we are bringing information that will hopefully and powered the communities to actually make the choices and changes and take steps necessary to deal with extreme iism. >> the chair recognizes mr. heard. >> thank you to the chairman and distinguished panel. tell the men and women that work for you, thank you on behalf of us as well. i spent nine years as an undercover officer in the cia. i was in cia when 9/11 happened. if you would have asked me then that there would not be a major attack on the homeland for over 14 years, i would have sent you are crazy. but we have not had one because of the men and women in the organization are working, as of
september 12, and the tenacity that takes, i recognize that and my hats off to them. thes great representing 23rd congressional district of texas and also those men and women doing that. over 820nt almost -- miles of the border. secretary johnson, you have hard-working men and women of the border patrol and customs along the border. opportunityesome for three of them for the congressional medal of valor. they went above and beyond during a flood. it was straight out of the movie. i see what these men and women are doing every day. i would like to work with your , it impacts director coming, this is the right sizing
of the federal fleet. i think the tsa requirement does not take into account the unique challenges law enforcement has to deal with or folks on the border. i look forward to working with whoever in your office on this issue and solving that problem with the gsa. secretary johnson, i'm interested in on how you ilculate in the process, would welcome analysis of that. my first question to you, secretary johnson, this cyber deal with china that was announced. have we seen any impact it is having on attacks or critical infrastructure from the chinese? sec. johnson: at this point i would say it is too early to make an informed assessment. one thing that i will be looking to see is whether in our
follow-up engagement, which i hope to have in december, we will see progress building on what we agreed to on paper. that to me will be a first indicator of whether or not the chinese are taking seriously what they agreed to do when they were here in september. >> excellent. i hope the senate sends us a bill so we can reconcile the differences and get something to the president to sign. y, i appreciate your opening remarks and that your bureau is not seeking legislative issues regarding the going dark phenomenon. there is still a possession -- perception that the fbi is still looking for a backdoor or front door to encryption. we know that is technically not possible, if you allow the good
guys to have access to the back door, then you can allow the bad guys. my question is when you have groups like isis using social does to increase efforts, that give us an opportunity to kick increased targeting of these groups? respect tomey: with >> thank you, congressman. i don't think there is a single it. it is very complicated. i resist the term back door. i know it dominates the conversation today but i don't know what the answer is and i see lots of companies able to and de secure services they still comply with court orders. so people tell me it's impossible? >> here is my question. a lot of folks, i've sat down and talked with people in your organization about give me the cases in which the case actually went cold.
even if you have people using a device you may not get the plain text information but do you have the device and know that someone is using that and the location of the device. so saying you can't target terrorists and throwing certain companies under the bus by saying they're not cooperating i don't think is an accurate portrayal of what is going on. >> i hope you didn't hear me throw anybody under the bus. we'll get you hundreds and hundreds of cases but to me that doesn't -- i think everybody agrees the logic of encryption means all of our work will be severely affected by it but i don't think that is the end of the conversation. the question is how much do we care about that and what can we do about it? we will demonstrate the cases where it affects criminal and national security work and intelligence work. >> i disagree a little bit with some of your opening remarks that there was a conflict in our values. our civil liberties are the things that make our country great and we can protect our civil liberties and digital infrastructure and give our men
and women working hard to keep us safe every single day the to they need to continue protect us. i'm over my time. i look forward to working with you on this issue and the private sector because this is something we can solve. i yield back. >> chair recognizes our first female combat pilot. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and, gentlemen, for your testimony and the hard work of you and all of the men and women in your organization. i was on the task force, proud to be on the task force, and certainly very eye opening and troubling but very important work for us to identify some of the challenges and loop holes which have been further discussed in your testimony today and look forward to working with you all to see how we can obviously close those loop holes and increase our security. i want to specifically talk about the recruitment of women and girls. we talked about we think of there's over 250 maybe americans who have been recruited, 2500 westerners. a lot of the men being
recruited to go over and fight but women and girls recruitd to go over and basically be subjected to sexual slavery. very different dynamic. we've heard reports that the women and the girls quite frankly can't leave in the same freedom as some of the men do. do any of you have comments about, is there a different dynamic there app then different efforts to counter the violent extremism and recruitment of women and girls? >> it is a very good question. what we do know is isil does prioritize trying to recruit and bring young women to the kale fate -- the caliphate. they target some of their messages directly to that community and adopt themes they think will resonate with youpping women in western europe and even here in the united states. you'll probably remember not too long ago the "new york times" ran a very disturbing series on the front page that described in very vivid detail some of the horrific experiences young women have een put through.
and i was heartened to see that becoming public. it can only help to have that exposed but is the "new york times" the vehicle that reaches young women and explain how at risk they are if they respond to this call or the way director comey described the way they gravitate toward the positive ends of this message? i don't think the "new york times" is going to be the vehicle that helps us explain that and create the sense of awareness that it is not the environment they're signing up for. >> congresswoman i think a fundamental part of our efforts here in this country is a message that has to be addressed to young women about the type of exploitation they could be subjected to if they go to these places but i also believe it includes a message to their parents as well. >> i agree. thank. 'vetting ent topic,
the refugees, we identified some challenges with the visa waiver program and making sure again we're keeping the country safe, one of the elements, we had a demonstration out of the university of my district, university of arizona related to detection, deception detection technology. what we've learned in some of the briefings i've gotten is even with a face-to-face interview you often could be wrong if someone is trying to deceive and there's been decades of work done in identifying through neurological means and other things whether somebody is deceiving, whether that is in online forums or in person. we did give a demo to some individuals in your organization. i'd really like to follow up with that. i think these are some cheap technologies we could deploy that helps in the vetting site for a lot of different dynamics here. i know some of your members were there but sometimes it is difficult bureaucratically to
move technology quickly. i'd like to follow up with all of you related to this deception detection technology because i think it would be help if you're open to it. i ran a counterterrorism organization in my last military assignment and we talked about foreign fighters and training and working with your organization, you know, we were watching thousands and thousands of terrorists being chained in al shabab training camp and we had the authority but didn't really have the will to do anything about it. we're all talking about isis right now but we have aqim, aqat, al shabab. certainly with the challenges of pulling out forces in yemen, limiting our intelligence. just want some discussion on so we're not all focused on isil but i just want your comments on addressing these issues, and are there similar issues we don't have the will to be addressing those? what are the challenges you're having with those threats?
>> thank you for raising that issue because as you saw in my remarks i resist the idea that isil is the sole target right now. certainly as i said in my testimony the group has surpassed al qaeda in terms of its prominence in leading a global jihaddist movement but in terms of the threat we face, each of the groups you rattled ff, congresswoman very, very dangerous, lethal, and deserving of all of the resources and analysis we can bring to bear as a counterterrorism community. simply as a matter of work force management i've had to resist the pull, also, to surge analysts in the direction of only working on isil related threats because of the array of other places around the world where al qaeda, al qaeda affiliate groups, and other extremist groups are potentially threatening us. thank you for raising that. >> great. thapings. my time is expired but i look
forward to following up with your organizations on those threats as well. thank you. >> the chair recognizes -- >> thank you, mr. chairman, and all the witnesses for all you do to keep america safe. i'd like to go back to the issue in syria that displaced millions of folks' status around the world. obviously it is a humanitarian concern for all of us. i am certainly sympathetic to the atrocities there and as many members have mentioned appreciate our country's profound and long-time commitment to providing a place fleeing y to those disastrous conflicts. i did want to drill down a little bit on the president's nnouncement a month ago of a 600% expansion in the number of syrian refugees allowed into this country going from about 1600 a year to a figure of at least 10,000 as the president
mentioned i think, secretary, you clarified that number today. while humanitarian concerns are certainly warranted i know you would all agree with me that the president's action certainly raised from real security risks here at home. director comey you recently testified before the senate that while we do have a robust screening process here i think you did acknowledge at the same time there are some information gaps in our data bases that we use to screen these individuals. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> okay. but again, i know you all agree that it's also vitally important that we understand who is coming into this country o the best of our ability. especially when we also know isis has expressed an interest and intent in using the refugee process to get in the united states. that's also a fact, isn't it, director?
>> i think director rasmussen testified to that just a few minutes ago. >> so with that in mind, i think we all agree that the decisions be made on a humanitarian basis and also with national security in mind. each of you and your teams are full of extremely talented, capable, dedicated folks that can inform these decisions. so i want to find out the extent to which they were utilized. was the figure announced by the president of 10,000 the product of a thorough analysis by your respective agencies? i'll start with you, secretary. >> the announcement of 10,000 was the product of considerable interagency discussion. my department and uscis was certainly consulted in arriving at that number. and it is as i think you noted very definitely striking a balance between what we know we can accomplish with the resources we have and not
shutting our eyes and our doors to what is really a horrible world situation. and doing -- yes, we were consulted sir. >> thank you. director comey? >> that's my understanding as well. there was an interagency process run through the national security council and the f.b.i. was a participant in those conversations. >> okay. director rasmussen? >> the same as well. >> thank you. director rasmussen, i want to talk to you a little bit. back in june we held a hearing at this committee called terrorism gone viral and it terrorist ined the attack in garland texas just utside of my district. and related to isis' use of social media. in our june hearing i tried to why nswers on the issue of
isis has been so skillful in this area relative to other foreign terrorist organizes. i asked about whether or not it was due to better funding or whether it was certain individuals within the group. the responses i got were largely, well, the internet hadn't really developed when al qaeda was going. social media wasn't as pervasive until recently. but i think those responses ignored the fact that, you know, at present our terrorist organizations certainly exist but it appears that isis still remains uniquely skilled in this area. so you gave some testimony recently in an exchange with senator johnson at the homeland security committee in the senate. i wanted to ask you a little bit about that. maybe it relates to -- i know there were reports in september that isis' social media activities seemed to ramp down
following the death of jenna hussein but i guess i want to know your opinion. is isis unique in recruiting foreign fighters and inspiring lone wolf attackers? is that a product of some unique capability that they have? if not, are there other factors or what are the other factors that make isis so skillful in this area? >> i hesitate to use the word "unique" because the capabilities they are using to mobilize potential fighters or terrorists, those aren't necessarily things that can't be transferred or adopted by other groups going forward. i think the innovation that isil as an organization undertook that differentiated it from al qaeda in a significant way was that isil truly did aspire to be a mass movement. in creating the caliphate the idea was to populate the caliphate with individuals from all around the world. al qaeda traditionally and typically operated as a clandestine terrorist movement where vetting processes and
letting individuals into the group was a very serious business. and so you did not see al qaeda, i would argue they probably didn't have the tools to do this, but they were not seeking to create a mass organization capable of controlling territory the way iraq, in iraq and syria the way isil has. so i would hate to rule out, though, i hesitate to rule out that other terrorist organizations could not adopt the same kinds of skillful techniques that ice ill has. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i was just informed from the members that director comey has a hard stop at 12:30 so just maybe take that into consideration. the chair recognizes mr. donovan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, may colleagues have articulated the incredible responsibility you all have in protecting our country from domestic, home grown radicalized individuals to people who are overseas who want to attack our country to
fighting possible mass destruction of our country to one wolves, shooting up people worshiping in a church in the south. i just want to touch on something no one has touched on yet and that is the possibility of nuclear devices. director comey, your agents have done a remarkable job in thwarting smugglers from trying to equip isis with nuclear materials. recently one was reported and i think it was four others or five others during the last few years. are we getting some assistance from some of the former soviet countries who also would be threatened by this and what other materials possibly should we be looking toward other than just nuclear devices that certainly i know there are other materials harmful to our country but what other materials are people like these, isis or al qaeda are the groups looking to use against our country?
>> thank you, congressman. the answer is we get cooperation across the board on this because whatever people's political differences everybody understands the threat posed by radiological nuclear camera biothreats and so we have invested as a country and the f.b.i. in particular in building relationships with our yournt parts in a whole host of eastern european countries. the former soviet state there. so it is a good news story. the challenge we all face is isil's mission is simply to kill a lot of people so they're not in love with any particular tool as long as it will kill people. so we focus on obviously the devices themselves but also radiological materials that might be used to terrify people or injure people with long-term radiologicalal illness. there is a broad spectrum there. we have folks in the f.b.i. and i know my partners here do who wake up every day focused just
on this because we see the threat as low probability, huge impact. >> thank you. my other fellow new yorker, secretary johnson, yesterday congress passed a bill of mine to authorize securing the cities. a program started back in 2006, very successful in the new york-new jersey region, expanded to use in l.a., long beach area, d.c. the efforts you're making because we're expanding do you have the resources to continue the success of that pro-fwram in the future because it has been remarkably successful in our area where you and director comey and i come from and the successes we've heard from my olleagues are just remarkable. [no audio]
>> i'm sorry, mr. rasmussen, if you're not from new york i'm not going to ask you a question. my time is up. thank you. i yield the rest of my time. >> i thank you for that. the chair recognizes mr. richmond. >> first of all, let me thank you, chairman, and the ranking member, and thank the witnesses job in very difficult very circumstances and time with ever changing technology i would hate to be in your job. but let me just ask and i know there's a lot of talk about a number of issues but i'll get a little local in my area because petro ve the largest
chemical footprint in the united states in my district and we also have millions and millions of visitors that come. we also have the largest complex in the united states in my district. so as you all share intelligence and as you all go about protecting the homeland, how worried are you all about our chemical ity, facilities security, our refinery security, and our ability to protect them? >> let me begin with that. new orleans is a confluence of things that we in homeland security are concerned about. as you've pointed out in your question, congressman. and given the -- and so it is rightly on our radar.
given the nature of the threat we face, it's difficult to rank with any real degree of certainty where we should focus and where we should not focus. for example i think all of us would agree that prior to this summer we didn't have any particular reason to put chattanooga tennessee high on anybody's list. and so given the range of threats we face, we have to be vigilant in a bunch of different places, but certainly port security, maritime security, and the other things that converge in new orleans are areas where i know many aspects of our department are ocused in. >> mr. comey? >> i don't think i have anything to add. we have a lot of focus work in your district. it is a big focus of our work.
we face a wide array of threats ut try to focus resources on areas to make it harder for them. >> let's spend a quick second talking about the encryption and the back door. i guess my question and i guess -- if our tech companies create e back door aren't there over-the-counter things that would allow people to encrypt it or are you all pretty confident you can access data rough any over-the-counter encryption? >> thank you for the question. as i said to congressman hurd earlier i resist the term back door because mostly i don't understand what it means. what we are looking for is a when in which ideally
judges issue court orders to search a device or access commune cages companies are able to comply. today lots of the sophisticated internet providers are able to comply and some of the biggest e-mail providers in the world comply with our court orders. i actually don't think the problem is one of technology. i think it is one of business models. lots of companies have said we will never do this for the government. so that's the problem we have to figure out how to solve. here is the bad news. commercially available strong encryption we cannot break so we find ourselves getting court orders from judges. we make a showing of probable cause, judge gives us permission for a limited period of time toint accept. we can't decrypt that data so we're out of luck and have to figure out our ways to try to make that gang case, kidnapping case, or terrorism case. >> thank you. i see my time is expired.
>> this morning the daily caller reported the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia has ndicted two senior managers, n.s.a. managers for willfully violating national security relations while allowing a visiting chinese foreign national to gain complete and unrestricted access to the center. if this wasn't troubling enough the article reports that in the involving s case alleged espionage by a chinese national and now foreigners ve more not less access to nasa operations at present. before the case, all four nationals including green card holders could be monitored and restricted but now green card holders are treated like u.s. citizens with unrestricted
access to all parts of the space research facility. it quotes a senior nasa official as saying, "if you have a green card, your allegiance may still be to china, but the green card gets you legal authority to work in the united states. therefore, we don't track them. they don't have any restrictions to transfer technology control plans. they're given access to the same exact way as a u.s. citizen because they have a green card." of course i'd like to commend director comey and the f.b.i. for their role in pursuing this case over the last several years. but second, i'd like to ask the panel whether this is common practice that nonu.s. citizens holding green cards but with sworn allegiance to other countries have the same access and privileges as a u.s. citizen at nasa centers and
other facilities that may be of interest to foreign intelligence services and if so why? >> i'm sure nick and jim have their own answers to this. i haven't read the particular article you're referring to. i've been in countless places in government buildings, sensitive areas where the sign says, u.s. citizens only. who obviously have the requisite security clearances. i can't tell you the number of places i see that. it is fairly common. i don't know about the particular circumstances that you're referring to there. but i'll be happy to refer to my friends here. >> congressman, because the case is pending i am not going to comment on the case. i thank you for the kind words about our folks who worked hard on it. i think the issue with nasa is about access by foreigners to unclassified information.
as secretary johnson said there is a whole regime that's very tight around what access foreigners might get to classified information. i think the issue there is when green card holders wander around a space that is not classified what of america's information can they see there? honestly i'm not smart enough on the issue right now to talk to you in this forum but it is something we have to get smarter about. >> sure. >> with respect to my organization we operate in a highly classified environment and any foreign national or nonsecurity clearance holding individual would be required to be strictly escorted around our . cility >> do you think this committee should look at changing laws at these federal facilities or are you satisfied with what we have in place? >> i will answer with another
that i don't know. again, with respect to unclassified information i don't know enough about the issue sitting here to offer you a view on it. >> i'd have to give the same answer, sir. >> again, because i've read only in the classified space, so it's difficult to answer in the unclassified. >> thank you all for your testimony. it was very helpful. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm bringing up the rear here. first of all, thank you all for what you're doing to protect america. a very difficult time with it. it seems like every committee and i apologize, i wasn't here for all the questioning. i listened to the -- to your statements, but another committee hearing dealing with vulnerabilities of our power grid. so it seems like most of the committees i'm on is something dealing with security. the question, i want to go back to the refugee situation.
i apologize if i'm redundant on some questions. i don't think they asked but the concern i have, yes. we're very humanitarian as a nation and i think we have some responsibility there. but our priority is securing this nation. and the people of this nation. and i've read reports that, of the syrian refugees, 72% of them are young males while 28% are women and children under the age of 11. the question i have for whoever has the information, to your knowledge is that true? and if it's not, what is the break down? if it is, why is there such a disparity? >> congressman, i don't recall what the percentage breakdown is. i've heard a number but i don't recall what it is. i don't know the accuracy of that 72-28 number but we can certainly get you what we know. >> mr. rasmussen? >> i'm in the same position. >> it is very concerning to me with that response that we're considering bringing in
refugees and we don't know that, what the breakdown of the percentage of these -- >> sitting here i don't know. it is a piece of data that we have. i just don't know it sitting here right now. >> okay. i appreciate the candor there. how are we going to monitor these folks? i mean, i've also read reports that al qaeda, isis have also said their intention is to exploit this refugee crisis and use that to infiltrate operatives into various countries. how are we going to monitor these folks? do we have plans going forward? >> congressman, as we discussed previously, there is that concern. we know that organizations such as isil might like to try to exploit this program and it is for that reason that while we e going to do what we have committed to do for
humanitarian reasons, you know, this is a worldwide crisis. we're talking about 10,000 people. i'm committed that we do it carefully and we vet these people as carefully as we can. live in a world where one failure is the equivalent of 10,000 successes. i think we're all committed with the improved process we have to do the best we can, deliberately as we can, with regard to each individual applicant for refugee status here. >> do we have the resources to do this? are we already stretched thin and we're just going to be adding so much more to our vulnerabilities by going through this process? >> we are very busy. fy-15 rall commitment in was 75,000 worldwide. next year, this year, we've committed to taking in a little more. 85,000, 10,000 of which will be syrians. the director of uscis has developed a plan along with the
state department to make sure we have adequate resources to vet these people. >> last question and i yield back and we all have other things that we need to be doing but this is very critical. are we -- do we have a system of priorityization? like we know certain religious groups, christians for example, are the most at risk in some of these areas. are we going to prioritize those that are greatest at risk to allow them? i've read reports that some of the christian syrian refugees re having a difficult time coming to the u.s. and some other countries. is that true? >> i'd have to get back to you and take that one for the record ks sir. >> thank you for what you're doing. greatly concerned over where we're going with the refugee crisis and, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> if i can just add to that, it is unfortunate the gulf
states have not agreed to take one syrian refugee. those are sunni arab populations. they certainly have the wherewithal. but in closing let me just say thank you to all three of you. and to the men and women in your organizations who every day wake up to protect americans from the threats that we face. and i think you've done an extraordinary job stopping so many of these threats, many that we know about and some, many that the american people don't be about. the challenges are enormous. and the threats are grave. but on behalf of the congress let me just say thank you again for what you do day in and day out. with that, >> c-span pres